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Family of journalist jailed in Syria await news, four years on

Excerpt of a 6 January 2015 CPJ blog post by Jason Stern, CPJ Middle East and North Africa Research Associate.

When Ibtisam Alnawaty last spoke to her husband, Moheeb Alnawaty, in January 2011, there was nothing to suggest that he feared for his safety. The Palestinian-Norwegian writer had traveled to Syria in December 2010 to translate his book, Hamas From The Inside, and had even suggested the family should move there from Norway, his wife told CPJ. But on January 5, 2011, Moheeb Alnawaty's phone was turned off and he has not been in contact since.

The circumstances that led to Moheeb Alnawaty's disappearance are unclear. Reports filtered to his family and colleagues that he was in Syrian government custody. The Syrian foreign ministry confirmed to a Norwegian diplomat in 2013 that he was being held over accusations of spying for Israel, according to Eva Stabell, of the Norwegian Union of Journalists, and news reports. To date, the Syrian government has not allowed anyone to speak directly with Moheeb Alnawaty to confirm his health, status, and whereabouts, his wife told CPJ.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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